How to Play 3-Card Poker

play 3 card poker

We’ve all heard of Poker — that five-card game that’s an obsession for so many (and a profession for many more). But what about 3-Card Poker?

This game is a variation of Stud Poker and lets you play against the dealer for extra excitement — how often do you get that satisfaction at the casino?

Below is more information on the history of this game and how to play it.

History of 3-Card Poker

Traditional Poker may have arrived from several different sources; scholars pin the game to a 10th Century emperor in China, an ancient Persian game called As Nas, and the European game called “Poque” that traveled with the French to America.

However, it wasn’t until 1994 that Three-Card Poker was invented. Derek Webb created the game and patented it a couple of years later — his goal was to give the world a type of “speed poker” that people could play without needing to commit several hours of time.

How to Play 3-Card Poker

The only thing you need for Three-Card Poker is a standard deck of cards with no Jokers. Two players can play this game and can use poker chips if they desire.

As its name suggests, each player receives only three cards. The values and combinations of these three cards allow them to make the decision on what to do next. Their options are:

  1. Ante. Before playing starts, players can bet against the dealer in the Ante spot. To win, each player’s final poker hand must beat the dealer’s hand.
  2. Play Wager. A player who has betted on the Ante spot and believes they have a good hand must match their Ante bet in their Play spot. This Play wager goes up against the dealer. If they do not like their hand and don’t wager on their Playspot, this forfeits their Ante.
  3. Pair Plus. If a player has a hand they want to play, they can bet the Pair Plus. Winning this bet requires their hand to equal a Straight Flush, Straight, Flush, Pair, or Three of a Kind.
  4. Play Both. This move bets both the Pair Plus bet (their own hand) and the Ante bet (against the dealer). They win both if they can make a pair or better and also beat the dealer’s hand.

Ante Bonus. Betting both the Ante and Play can open the door for a bonus payout, even if the dealer wins or doesn’t qualify. This wager requires the player to have a Straight, Straight Flush, or Three of a Kind.

Rules of 3-Card Poker

Each player must begin by making an Ante bet or a Pair Plus bet. Players are then dealt three cards, which they can view to assess their value.

If the player believes their hand can beat the dealer’s, they can place the cards face-down in the Play area and make a wager equal to their Ante wager. If they do not believe they can beat the dealer, they fold and forfeit their Ante bet. If they bet the Pair Plus spot and are qualified to win, they can also place their cards face-down in their Play spot.

The dealer then turns over their cards and sorts them into the best possible hand. They must have at least a queen high to qualify; if they don’t, all players receive their Ante bets. If the dealer beats the player, both Ante and Play bets are forfeited. When a dealer’s hand qualifies but is beaten by the player’s hand, both Ante and Play wagers must be paid at 1:1.

A dealer’s hand that both qualifies and ties another player’s hand results in bets being pushed.

Pair plus payouts are as follows:

  1. Straight Flush: 40 to 1
  2. Three of a Kind: 30 to 1
  3. Straight: 6 to 1
  4. Flush: 3 to 1
  5. Pair: 1 to 1

Ante bonus payouts are as follows:

  1. Straight Flush: 5 to 1
  2. Three of a Kind: 4 to 1
  3. Straight: 1 to 1

Some Popular Terms

Though there are many terms in Poker, here are some of the most common:

  • Action: How much money is on the table at the present time.
  • House Edge: The amount of statistical advantage the casino has over a player, typically written as a percentage.
  • Live: “Live” Three-Card Poker is a game that takes place on the casino floor with a dealer, chips, etc.


If you’re into Poker, or if you aren’t into Poker, or if you simply have an image of yourself chewing on a stogie and yelling fancy terms like “Straight Flush, ya schmucks,” chances are you’ll love Three-Card Poker.

Three-Card Poker gives you time to try other games in the casino and to have a fun time with friends and strangers alike — and with a bit of luck and skill, you may just walk away with some winnings!

3-Card Poker at RW NYC

Visitors of Resorts World New York City are welcome to enjoy a game of 3-card poker (and more) in its electronic version. The same level of excitement guaranteed!